A prominent question among Arizona Wildcats fans now that point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright is out for a “considerable amount of time,” according to coach Sean Miller, is whether any football players can walk on to alleviate depth concerns.
The Wildcats have only seven healthy and eligible scholarship players with Jackson-Cartwright out indefinitely with a high-ankle sprain suffered Wednesday in the game against Texas Southern.
Terrence Ferguson opted to play professionally in Australia than attend Arizona. Lipscomb transfer Talbott Denny, formerly of Salpointe, suffered a season-ending knee injury in preseason workouts. Allonzo Trier’s eligibility status is still unknown. Ray Smith’s career is over with his third torn ACL in as many years.
Miller said after Wednesday’s game that his program may add another walk-on. The team already has four.
Everybody remembers two-sport Arizona athletes Ortege Jenkins, Kelvin Eafon, Craig Bergman and Peter Hansen during the Lute Olson and Larry Smith/Dick Tomey years right?
Here is a list of current Arizona football players who excelled in hoops while in high school:
— Cam Denson (5’11” and 187). Sophomore receiver drew some attention from college recruiters on the basketball court on Salpointe. “I love basketball,” Denson told Sports360AZ.com during his senior year with the Lancers. “It’s something I do in my off time from football and something to do to get away from all the football recruiting and all of that stuff. It helps me ease my mind for life.”
— Calvin Allen (6’6″ and 281 pounds). Redshirt junior defensive lineman who was also recruited to play basketball collegiately as a two-time all-district forward at La Cueva High School in Albuquerque. That’s the same school that produced former Arizona center A.J. Bramlett. He was a teammate at La Cueva of UCLA guard Bryce Alford when Alford’s dad coached at New Mexico.
— Shun Brown (5’8″ and 175). Sophomore receiver who was a football, basketball and track and field letterwinner for Calvary Baptist Academy in Shreveport, La.
— Tony Ellison (5’11” and 188). Redshirt sophomore receiver who lettered in basketball and track and field at Granite Bay (Calif.) High School.
— Layth Friekh (6’5″ and 282). Junior offensive lineman who was a football and basketball letterman for Glendale Centennial High School.
— Carter Hehr (5’10” and 191). Redshirt junior safety who lettered in football, basketball and baseball for Big Foot High School in Fontana, Wis.
— Abraham Mendivil (6’1″ and 196). Redshirt junior receiver who was a football and basketball letterman at Phoenix Apollo High School.
This is just a list of some Arizona football players with known competitive basketball backgrounds. It does not mean any of them will join the basketball team as a walk-on. Chances are none of them will with the basketball season already seven games in at this point, but you never know.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.